Shadows is a social bookmarking site with good features, and all of the expected bells and whistles. But the reason I like it so much is that they’ve come up with a really interesting application for all the bookmark data they collect – shadow pages.
If you choose to install their toolbar, you can click on “Shadow Page” from any web page and be redirected to that page’s Shadow Page. This page is a collection of metadata gathered from user bookmarks.
For instance, here is the Shadow Page for Apple’s iPod Nano. The Shadow Page includes notes from users who have bookmarked the iPod Nano web page, a tag cloud of tags used to describe the page, users who’ve tagged it, etc. A user can choose to make any bookmark private, but any public bookmarks are included on the Shadow Page.
It’s a really unique product and a good twist on social bookmarking.
Shadows also has set up groups, like this one for Web 2.0. Links are automatically collected here by users who tag pages with “web2.0”. There is also a tab for a general discussion that any user can participate in.
The fact that all of this metadata for websites is being collected is not that interesting. What is interesting is that anyone can access this site metadata (and only that site’s metadata) by simply clicking a button in a toolbar.
Shadows has been slowly building up a loyal user base, many of which are interested in highly niche content. An example is this Shadow Page on Harry Potter. An entire community has emerged around this page, with users writing their own Harry Potter fiction, thousands of discussion items, etc. As more groups are formed (and users will soon have the ability to create a group on the fly, based on how they tag a page), more of these microcommunities will sprout, generating lots of page views for Shadows.